Soaring Eagles Take Down Manti Templars

JD Soaring Eagles meet Manti Templars last Friday for a nail-biter finish

For the fourth week of Juan Diego football season, the team met Manti on John Colosimo Field for an agnostic game that ended in victory for the JD Soaring Eagles. 

After a week of tension and anticipation leading up to Friday night, there were varied opinions on how the game would play out. 

At halftime the game was slated to be a dominating win with the Soaring Eagles in the lead by fifteen points, with a score of 27(JD) to 12(Manti). However, in the end Manti inched their way back before JD managed to scratch by with a 34-32 win. 

As the standalone QB1 for Juan Diego, Hayden Mezenen went for 213 passing yards, and 3 touchdowns for a 53% completion rate. Combined with his passing stats, Mezenen rushed for 32 yards and a touchdown on 5 attempts. 

From behind the line of scrimmage, Etu Lukifanga rushed for 53 yards on 13 attempts, along with a touchdown. Etu also led the team with 79 receiving yards and a 46 yard reception that found the end zone. 

From the pass catching standpoint, Bryton Valdez and Colby Bryant each went for 3 receptions, with Bryton Valdez leading the way with two touchdowns. 

On the defensive side of the ball, Angelo Lewis and Etu Lukifanga each had an interception, with Lewis also recording a tackle, while Etu tied for the most tackles by a JD player at 4. As a team combined, the Soaring Eagles managed to get to the backfield 5 times to sack the Manti QB for a loss. 

Colby Bryant breaks away with a stiff arm Photo credit: Brianna Aquilla

Things got close in the 4th quarter when Manti began to inch their way back into the game. 

It began with a score of 34-19 after Manti punched in a 47 yard touchdown pass in the 3rd quarter. 

With a little under two minutes left in the game Manti scored their second touchdown of the half to close the gap to 34-26, after they knocked in the PAT. 

Following the points, Manti chose to onside kick, which slipped through the special teams of JD and allowed Manti to recover the ball. 

A ten yard reception followed by a questionable pass interference call brought Manti down into the red zone with one minute and 20 seconds left on the clock. 

With things looking bad for Juan Diego, the defense managed to penetrate the O-line and get to the Templars’ QB for a sack. 

A few plays later, the Manti Templars scored six and reached the end zone. 

With the clock stopped at 41 seconds for the two point attempt, Manti went for a pass that was incomplete, however another flag was thrown on the play. 

With the second try on the two point conversion, the Soaring Eagles’ defense knocked the ball away to keep the game at 34-32. 

Still down by two, Manti opted to onside kick again. This time around Angelo Lewis managed to secure the ball, all the while securing the win. 

Kick return leaves Manti player in the dust Photo credit: Brianna Aquilla

With a knee to run out the remaining time on the clock, the Juan Diego Soaring Eagles football team ran over to the student section to celebrate the win. 

Head Coach Ron James later said, “”It was great to get another victory in front of the home crowd at Soaring Eagle Stadium. The student section really gave our team a tremendous boost of energy to finish the game strong.” 

To wrap up the thrilling finish, JD came through clutch to secure the win – props to Coach James and his team for a bittersweet victory.